Foreign Affairs: No Time for Nuclear Power to Save Us from Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Journalistic research fail? Foreign Affairs claims wrongly that “No country has developed this [nuclear] technology to a point where it can and will be widely and successfully deployed.”. But two countries, France and Sweden, did just that in the 1970s.

Nuclear Energy Will Not Be the Solution to Climate Change

There Is Not Enough Time for Nuclear Innovation to Save the Planet

By Allison Macfarlane
July 8, 2021

The world is almost out of time with respect to decarbonizing the energy sector. Doing so, experts agree, is essential to forestalling some of the most alarming consequences of climate change, including rising sea levels, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, and the like. These threats have helped generate fresh interest in the potential for nuclear power—and, more specifically, innovative nuclear reactor designs—to allow people to rely less on carbon-spewing electricity sources such as coal, natural gas, and oil. In recent years, advanced nuclear designs have been the focus of intensive interest and support from both private investors such as Bill Gates—who founded TerraPower, a nuclear reactor design company, in 2006—and national governments, including that of the United States.

Advocates hope that this renewed focus on nuclear energy will yield technological progress and lower costs. But when it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late. Put simply, given the economic trends in existing plants and those under construction, nuclear power cannot positively impact climate change in the next ten years or more. Given the long lead times to develop engineered, full-scale prototypes of new advanced designs and the time required to build a manufacturing base and a customer base to make nuclear power more economically competitive, it is unlikely that nuclear power will begin to significantly reduce our carbon energy footprint even in 20 years—in the United States and globally. No country has developed this technology to a point where it can and will be widely and successfully deployed.

Read more (Paywalled): https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2021-07-08/nuclear-energy-will-not-be-solution-climate-change

To be fair the deployment logistics of building enough nuclear to hit net zero would be insanely expensive – as Willis calculated in US Green Impossibilities, the US would need to complete a brand new 1.2GW nuclear plant every week, between now and 2040 (975 weeks), to replace an estimated 1175GW of generating capacity with zero carbon nuclear. And we’re already 12 weeks behind schedule. At around $10 billion per plant, total cost would be around $10 trillion dollars.

But attempting to replicate this feat with wind or solar is ever more absurd. Given a renewable capacity factor of around 15%, a 5MW wind turbine produces an average of 0.75MW. So we need 1175GW / 0.75MW = 1.6 million wind turbines or solar plants.

To put it another way, the wind industry estimates wind turbines cost $1.3-2.2 million / MW nameplate capacity. So, lets be generous, 1.6 million wind turbines x 5MW x $1.3 million / MW = $10.4 trillion.

OK, so far the cost of wind power is comparable to the cost of building nuclear plants.

Ah but I forgot battery backup. If you assume a need for at least 5 days worth of backup power, to cover widespread wind droughts which occur every other year, you need 1175GW x 24 hours per day x 5 = 141,000GWh of battery capacity.

The Hornsdale Battery in South Australia holds 194MWh, and cost $161 million Aussie dollars. Lets say 161 * 0.75 = $121 million USD. Scale up to 141,000GWh, to cover a 5 day winter wind drought, and you need 141,000GWh / 194MWh x $121 million USD = $87,943,298,000,000 – eighty eight trillion US dollars.

Renewables look competitive with nuclear, until you factor in the cost of battery backup.

I mean you can play with the numbers, say assume you only need one day of battery backup instead of five, but then you would have to live with a seriously elevated risk that the electricity grid would fail when you really need it, like in the middle of a Texan ice storm. Even 5 days backup is risky, back in 2018 Britain suffered a wind drought which lasted at least 11 days. Or you could assume nuclear plants cost $20 billion per plant rather than $10 billion, but even doubling the cost of nuclear still looks good compared to the cost of renewables + backup. Or you could use absurd industry claimed capacity factors of 40-60% for wind turbines, but this doesn’t solve the problem of energy storage.

It is possible the cost of energy storage will plummet. There are technologies which might achieve this, like Vanadium flow batteries – but none of them are ready to deploy at scale, otherwise we would be already doing it, rather than building expensive Tesla batteries. A single large city scale Vanadium flow backup battery would consume a sizeable fraction of the current global annual supply of Vanadium. It would be crazy to gamble on the imminent development of an affordable, scalable energy storage technology which doesn’t exist yet, the search for which has eluded scientists for well over a century.

How did the French and Swedes manage a rapid switch to nuclear power in the 1970s? Simple answer, their 1970s plants didn’t cost USD 10-20 billion each. The governments of Sweden and France considered nuclear power to be a strategic priority, to protect their national economies against energy price shocks and political instability in producer nations, so they eliminated red tape and much of the planning process, and simply built the plants.

I’m not personally in favour of eliminating the planning process, I completely understand if nobody wants a hastily built nuclear reactor next door. I think there are much better uses for $10 trillion, like retiring some of the USA’s terrifying government debt. But it could be done, if say there was some kind of national or international crisis driving the decision to go nuclear, as the French and Swedes believed in the 1970s.

Draw your own conclusions, about why nobody today is rushing to embrace such an obvious option.

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Waza
July 13, 2021 2:12 am

After years of negotiations Australia finally agreed to export uranium to India in 2015. First shipment was 2017.
I suspect that if this agreement didn’t take place India would progress their thorium program

Reply to  Waza
July 13, 2021 3:53 am

Why are there no nuclear power plants in Australia?

Nottoobrite
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 5:02 am

WW1 WW2. WWW.
Problem solved

griff
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 6:08 am

In the UK the new Hinkley Point reactor will specifically add £10 a year to everyone’s power bill when – if – it is finished, for 30 years.

LdB
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 6:18 am

As opposed to wind farms which will add hundred of pounds 🙂

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:10 am

Keep lying, it is all you are good for.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:23 am

Possibly griff. But without it there will be power cuts.

Cassandra
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:50 am

And Hinckley Point is being built by a trusted, democratic ally – China! (With no software backdoors?)

How wonderfully wise of the UK who’ve had such good fortune with Windscale in 1957 (a harbinger of Chernobyl & Fukushima). They renamed it Sellafield and built a THORP Nuclear reprocessing plant which is now a white elephant.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-u-k-s-nuclear-dream-is-now-its-worst-nightmare/

One would almost think that CAGW was a plot by the Nuclear, chemical & plastics industries to distract us from their looming environmental disasters that are infinitely more serious than CO2. Here’s the book ‘Exposure’, made into the movie ‘Dark Waters’ that ends with the note that the chemical PFOA used by Dupont to make teflon, is now found in the bodies of every creature on Earth; that’s only one chemical leaking from our city, industrial & Nuclear dumps:
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781501172823

Australia has been very lucky to avoid Nuclear Electricity.

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud.”

jono1066
Reply to  Cassandra
July 13, 2021 4:39 pm

Cassandra
I dont understand ?
why link Windscale to an old Russian reactor that killed . .some . .and a tidal wave ? or are you saying the tidal wave that killed 10,000 was linked to a small fire and a dinky bit of activity released from Windscale. or are you suggesting the lack of long term health issues is the same as the tidal wave. Or perhaps its linked to that Earthquake in that killed 220,000, in 1 day, in Haiti, 11 years ago ?
or there again perhaps not.
perhaps you should have mention Dounreay as the real harbinger but I dont think people would get the connection.
As a young man I worked on Hinkley C so I think you mean the latest plant at Hinkley is being funded by. . . .
Cant wait for the next lump of space rock to hit,
Life is a risk, just live it !

KevinM
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:51 am

griff, do you feel the price is too high for removing carbon? How much cheaper do alternatives have to get before you think its worth trying to replace coal plants?

Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:51 am

Griff – why are you anti-nuclear?
Is it animal tribalism – greens always have been so I must be too?
Or is there any intellectual content in that position beyond what would be, lets say, achievable by your average Gramm-negative bacterium?

MarkW
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
July 13, 2021 9:36 am

He’s not anti-nuclear, like most modern Enviro’s, he’s anti human.
Nuclear would work, therefore it must be opposed.

walt
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
July 13, 2021 11:58 am

The picture of hundreds if not millions of wind turbines and solar panel farms warms the heart of the anti-nuclear people. The displacement caused by the huge footprint of the farms is ignored.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 9:35 am

Enviro’s do everything in their power to block nuclear. Then when the costs of dealing with those blockages make nuclear more expensive, they go around proclaiming that nuclear is just too expensive to consider.

If liberals didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.

John Hultquist
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 9:47 am

 If electricity is off for longer than, say 12 hours, the ice cream in my freezer will become soft. If longer than 12 hours the product becomes liquid. When refrozen there are ice crystals in the product and the term “cream” no longer applies.
I will happily pay £100 (See the two 0s there?) per year extra to never have the power go off and ruin a couple hundred £ of food; and the mess of cleaning and throwing out.
Ask me how I know?  

walt
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 11:49 am

Peanuts. Nuclear can be sited to maximize the ability to deliver power. The wind turbines, solar panels and batteries require huge power grid changes.

Spetzer86
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 6:55 am

Blow up a few more of those coal plants and nuclear might look pretty good. Of course, if your government won’t let you increase gas output, your odds of getting nuclear are pretty slim.

Troppo61
Reply to  Hans Erren
July 13, 2021 4:18 am

Irrational philosophical objections 🙁

July 13, 2021 2:19 am

In the absence of any proof yet that CP2 is causing anything other than a general benefit to the World, the price tag of $10 trillion US for Nuclear power conversion or $88 trillion US for Wind-power plus backup seems ruinously extravagant when the money could be well spent reducing poverty everywhere.

Spetzer86
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
July 13, 2021 6:57 am

If the West is driven to its knees by RE, relative poverty in the rest of the world will be reduced. The world’s poor only appear that way because the West is doing so well. When everyone is poor, the current poor won’t seem so bad off.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
July 13, 2021 8:40 am

The whole point is to force less power consumption on the general population, and increase power production as little as possible, while controlling a larger piece of the economic pie with carbon taxes, offsets, credits. There will be wealth in transferring energy poverty….

HotScot
July 13, 2021 2:20 am

Two options in the offing in the UK with Rolls Royce seemingly going to build 16 SMR’s beginning in 2030. Obviously not enough by a long shot before 2050, but it’s a start.

They might be beaten to the punch though, (I know, I know….always 20 years away) https://www.tokamakenergy.co.uk is promising to have their Fusion Reactor connected to the grid by 2030, or at lest several of them as they are essentially SMR’s as well and the plan is to have several at each site which can be switched on and off (?) to meet fluctuating demand. (So at least it’s only 9 years away now).

July 13, 2021 2:40 am

Anybody working on thorium plants? I have read they can also “burn” used plutonium rods. And there is lots and lots of thorium.

griff
Reply to  DocWat
July 13, 2021 4:28 am

Yes, the Chinese are pushing hard… their Chief scientist on the project estimates a possible prototype commercial plant by ‘early 2030s’

fretslider
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:43 am

Run by a trained virus, no doubt

Spetzer86
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 6:59 am

One can just imagine the lifespan of a reactor made using tofu-dreck construction.

Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 7:56 am

Remember how in the 1960’s the West laughed at Japanese engineering, calling it all bamboo and rice paper, and copied? Not so much now.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
July 13, 2021 9:16 am

True enough. But we suffered through about 10 yrs or more of piddly fall-apart nissans, toasters, bicycles, electric kettles… while we ‘trained’ them.

I see some of the same thing with China. I visited a chemical manufacturing plant in China and found it operated on a 1950s US patent. Coal-fired kiln, chemical process, no recovery of the considerable waste heat needed in downstream processes, stockpiling kiln-fired product at 1000°C on a pile in the yard with no peripheral barriers – visitors get a blast of heat as the walk by….

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 9:38 am

They may have been spindly and fall apart, however, so were many of the cars being built by American companies. Consumers decided that spindly and fall apart was OK, so long as the price was low.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 12:15 pm

Yeah, I guess we and the Japanese learned from each other.

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 1:49 pm

The Japanese actually learned quality management from US. The problem in the US was the unions were too powerful to permit the auto companies to employ these techniques.

bill Johnston
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 7:08 pm

The bigger problem was that management didn’t realize that quality starts at the top and works its way down. They would come in, explain how things were to be done and leave. No management by example. They never adopted the mantra.

Mr.
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 1:09 pm

Yes.
Non-existent workplace safety measures in China is why freshly-harvested radiata pine logs from Australia for fencing, decking, etc are back-load shipped to China where they are chemically treated with preservatives, then re-shipped back to Australia.

The costs of doing this are lower than compliance regulations if done in Australia.

Mr.
Reply to  Mr.
July 13, 2021 4:03 pm

reply comment meant for Tsk Tsk below

max
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 14, 2021 2:23 pm

Whatever do you mean? The Chinese have always been careful stewards of the environment. Who else would leave their brown air and green water alone?

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  DocWat
July 13, 2021 8:33 am

Nothing magic about Thorium and lots of issues with it. The reality is that Uranium is more than plentiful enough for our needs.

Reply to  Tsk Tsk
July 13, 2021 9:21 am

Don’t thorium donuts now power many satellites? I was thinking, drop a few thousand in a large boiler and attach a turbine… no need for salt and it’s problems.

Mr.
Reply to  Tsk Tsk
July 13, 2021 4:03 pm

Yes.
Non-existent workplace safety measures in China is why freshly-harvested radiata pine logs from Australia for fencing, decking, etc are back-load shipped to China where they are chemically treated with preservatives, then re-shipped back to Australia.
The costs of doing this are lower than compliance regulations if done in Australia.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  DocWat
July 13, 2021 8:41 am

There were operating proto-types in the 1950s at Oak Ridge, TN and Chalk River, Ontario but the US program was shut down by the Atomic Energy Commission because the Pentagon needed their plutonium fix. Why does it take so long to do what was done in a few years 70yrs ago? You guessed it.

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 1:51 pm

There are huge differences between running something on a benchtop, and sizing it up to commercial sizes.

Peta of Newark
July 13, 2021 2:41 am

It is A Wonder of Our Modern Times how Headless Chickens do any thinking, let alone Magical Thinking.
<Puzzles> How do they make so much noise?

Ooooh, <thinks> Maybe they can, maybe they have Magical Invisible Heads.
made of gas
green gas.
Funny how its invisible but also green…
Why isn’t the noise they make (audibly) invisible?

Groan. Science ain’t what it used to be

Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
Spetzer86
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 13, 2021 7:00 am

They can fly, though. It’s sort of odd that the behavour you don’t really associate with chickens is the one they display after their heads are removed.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Spetzer86
July 13, 2021 9:27 am

Maybe the crescendo of frenetic hysteria from the climatness crowd is a sign that it’s soon to be over, like the brief gymnatics of the headless chicken.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 11:24 am

No, it’s just the standard run-up to another CoP.

Oldseadog
July 13, 2021 2:47 am

Nobody is rushing to embrace such an obvious option ‘cos deep down they all know there isn’t any climate emergency and they know there aren’t any alaming consequences of climate change so they are just holding face-saving meetings and putting in the time in the hope that by the time they retire it will be a problem for someone else to cope with.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Oldseadog
July 13, 2021 6:12 am

Au contraire, the next Ice-Age will be an alarming consequence of climate change, which will come on day, & mankind will be able to do absolutely nothing to stop it other than to adapt to that change!!!

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Alan the Brit
July 13, 2021 8:01 am

mankind will be able to do absolutely nothing to stop it other than to adapt to that change!!!

The same can be said for ANY climate “change.” Humans don’t drive the climate, humans can’t stop it from changing, humans can’t dictate the direction, rate, or amount of any changes. All humans can do about climate “change” of any variety is exactly what you said – adapt. Or die. Simple.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 13, 2021 9:33 am

Please, don’t you want thanks for the Great Greening of the planet and bumper harvests grace of our burning of fossil fuels? It is the only palpable sign of climate change and the clime syndicate doesn’t like even mention it.

Jimmy Walter
July 13, 2021 3:19 am

It is impossible to build enough plants by 2030 or 2050:

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Jimmy Walter
July 13, 2021 8:56 am

Nice!

Now run the numbers for wind and solar and batteries

KTHXBYE

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Jimmy Walter
July 13, 2021 11:52 am

They seem not to have considered the possibility of building them at once, not sequentially.

Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 3:48 am

The wind solution is worse than you make out Eric . When working out how much nameplate turbinery you need you need to factor in also the generating capacity to charge your batteries or feed your hydrogen plant
I work out that with 40% capacity factor abd50% storage efficiency for every Gw of 24/7 power you need to install 4 Gw

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 8:14 am

Another thing you missed is this – those Nuke plants may cost $10 Trillion, but they’ll still be in service 50 years later; the $10.4 Trillion price tag for wind mills will be spent more like every 15 years, so you can multiply that $10.4 Trillion by 3 or 4 times to compare it with the cost of Nuke plants – and that assumes you don’t have any wind mills blown over or damaged by windstorms, which requires another replacement for every one damaged.

The vast tracts of land that will have to be sacrificed to use wind power is also not mentioned, and needs to be in any such discussion, since the deluded seem to think you can replace a real power plant with a mere handful of wind mills (and of course also totally disregard the need for 100% backup).

Finally, of course, you need to throw in the massive amount of mining of rare Earth metals required for the wind mill magnets, which there may not even be enough of to build the $10.4 Trillion worth the first time around, much less the second or third – and which all must be done using fossil fuels, putting the wind mill non-solution in a huge “hole” of “emissions” from the start gate compared with Nuke plants, which will require comparatively minuscule amounts of concrete, steel and NOT “rare” metals for their construction.

griff
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 4:27 am

If you look at UK wind, a lot of it is currently constrained… i.e. shut off from the grid due to overproduction for current use. That is the power which will go into batteries and hydrogen

Redge
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 4:54 am

So when the wind isn’t blowing we won’t have batteries being topped up and no hydrogen power as well as no electricity

And you think this is a good idea

KevinM
Reply to  Redge
July 13, 2021 7:54 am

The market will force energy storage (and its cost) to point-of-consumption. New technology will bring down the price point.

Redge
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 9:16 am

It doesn’t matter how cheap it is if the wind doesn’t blow

Editor
Reply to  Redge
July 13, 2021 2:51 pm

BINGO!

Rich Davis
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 9:36 am

Forget about the lithium cost & availability, and the fire hazard. Have you done even a first pass guess at how much copper will be needed to upgrade the grid so that every house can top off batteries when currently-constrained wind turbines are set free to dump a fluctuating peak supply into the grid?

How exactly will you coordinate the demand of millions of distributed batteries to keep it in sync with rapidly fluctuating supply and avoid crashing the grid?

Assuming “and then a miracle happens” new technology that can force many million battery chargers to load-follow (supply-follow?), you still have the problem that most of the wind turbines are in remote areas. In many cases, they are constrained (at least in the US) by inadequate transmission lines from the remote site to the consumer.

So even before you double or triple (quintuple?) the cabling into every house so that the household’s cars are charged, the heating system, hot water, and cooking is all-electric, and now you are also providing each house with a battery that provides 10-days backup for all those uses, you also need to bulk up the long-distance transmission lines everywhere.

You are probably correct though. Backup will be driven to a distributed model because the centralized model is absolutely impossible in the loony tunes timeframe. (or any timeline?)

What you’re not saying is that this really means that most people will be required to go without a car, without any significant backup battery, and without reliable electricity. Only the very wealthy will have those luxuries.

And that’s the real plan, isn’t it?

KevinM
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 13, 2021 11:54 am

I am an electrical engineer in the residential power metering industry.

You have far overcomplicated the issue.
e.g.

copper will be needed to upgrade the grid

Not required.

lithium cost & availability

Who said Lithium?

coordinate the demand”

Not required.

“to keep it in sync with”

Not required.

“rapidly fluctuating supply”

Not important.

avoid crashing the grid”

Crash into what?.

wind turbines”

Who said wind turbines?

10-days backup for all those

Who said wind 10-days backup?

What you’re not saying is that this really means that most people will be required to go without a car, without any significant backup battery, and without reliable electricity.

Correct. I am not saying that.

I wrote 21 words, which you spent 28 words agreeing with:

You are probably correct though. Backup will be driven to a distributed model because the centralized model is absolutely impossible in the loony tunes timeframe. (or any timeline?)

When someone mentions something you might not agree with, don’t assume they disagree with every thought and feeling you’ve ever experienced and want to fight you over it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 2:40 pm

You commented on Redge’s reply to griff, who said:

If you look at UK wind, a lot of it is currently constrained… i.e. shut off from the grid due to overproduction for current use. That is the power which will go into batteries and hydrogen

Perhaps you didn’t actually read what was being discussed.

In any case, simply asserting things is not a way to win an argument.

And the fact that you failed to address various relevant points doesn’t make those points less relevant. For example, you didn’t say 10-days backup, but that is what is necessary if the grid depends on unreliables. You didn’t say lithium, or wind turbines, but griff said batteries are going to be charged by wind that currently is curtailed.

You may indeed be an EE, but you sound more like an intern who believes in magic, or just another idiot troll.

MarkW
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 9:40 am

What new technology?
Neither wind mills nor batteries are new, they have been around for hundreds of years.

KevinM
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 12:07 pm

The oldest operating wind turbine in the world is younger than you. Volta’s 1799 wet cell battery drained itself in about 1 hour.

MarkW
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 1:56 pm

So what? I’m still waiting for you to list this magical technology that’s just over the horizon that will magically increase the efficiency of wind turbines and batteries.

Batteries rely on chemistry. Unless someone’s inventing new elements, we have to rely on the same elements that have been known about for well over 100 years. There is no magic battery and never will be.

The blades for turbines have been worked on for well over 200 years. Not much left to squeeze out of them. The generator in the nacelle is almost as old, they have been working on how to make generators more efficient since the days of Newton.
Not much left to squeeze out there either.

If you’re counting on a technical miracle to make wind turbines work, you might as well rely on unicorns. There’s a better chance of them being found.

Rusty
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 4:57 am

UK wind has been producing less than 1GW for the last 5 days. Even coal plants were producing more power.

J N
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 4:59 am

And will that power go to the mining of the elements for the batteries. And how about the the waste disposal of gigatones of materials for battery production will be also vanished by using that overproduction excess (acids for instance)? If you live in a real world and account for all the battery production cicle, you would not be talking about batteries. As far as I know, they do not appear by spontaneous generation… Even the copper needed for that objective, you are going to get it where? If the objectives for automobille electrification are to be taking serious, you will need as much copper untill 2040 as all the humanity consumed so far since the dawn of human societies. How are you going to solve that? You cannot have sunshine in your roof and rain in your garden. You know that nowadays a lot of materials are getting lots of constrains due to scarcity in the market. Now imagine that all the world is like griff and starts to produce massive batteries for power accumulation…

Rich Davis
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:03 am

Why isn’t it the power that GOES into batteries and hydrogen, griff, as opposed to WILL GO?

You know the answer, right? Impossibly expensive fantasy.

So, in which period would you prefer to live?
[__] Benign low CO2 1675-1750
[__] Dangerous CO2 1950-2025

Alasdair gray
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:29 am

True griff but as i say for every Gw of 24/7 wind power backed up with hydrogen we need 4Gw of installed nameplate turbinery.
Therefore in the uk our 40 Gw of turbinery is good for about 10 gw of constant power if backed up by Hydrogen. We got a long way to go for Boris’ dream

LdB
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 6:20 am

You have to love the Grifter and his beliefs … next he will tell us the Taliban are going to do wonderful things in female education.

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 6:57 am

Even Mikey Moore made a film about how solar/wind will not provide the power of the future….grifter should watch the film…yeah, watch the film griffter.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:25 am

Utter, utter BS griff, and you know it.

Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 8:11 am

Of the power used to produce hydrogen, 20% only produces actual hydrogen, the other 80 % is continually consumed maintaining it at super high pressure and minus 200 centigrade. Great new fuel! Most of the energy used to provide it is consumed in storage and transportation.

Nick B
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
July 13, 2021 9:03 am

No, the energy is not “consumed”. It goes to heat, heating the planet.

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 8:59 am

https://www.electricitymap.org/zone/GB

Check it regularly – you’ll find that the UK would be dark if it wasn’t natural gas and nuclear (both domestic and imported). Wind/solar RARELY provide anything close to 50% of the needed electricity, and typically are down around 10%, let alone so much then turn it off from overproduction.

Leo Smith
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:32 pm

Actually griff, none of it is constrained right now.

Iain Reid
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 11:52 pm

Griff,

where do you get such information?
For the last three months wind’s output has been very low, with occasional days to near double figure Gwatts, some days it is only in Mwatts, this with a fleet of about 25 Gwatts capacity. The weather forecast is saying that we will have more of the weather that produces low wind output.
The reality is that it is not the right way to go to power our grid, apart from it’s technical deficiencies.
As for battery to makeup the difference, simple arithmetic would demonstrate that it is unworkable.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 7:27 am

Something to always remember with regard to so-called ‘nameplate’ capacities of both PV modules and wind turbines—their primary purpose is to calculate the maximum voltages and currents for the system into which they will be installed. From this information the balance-of-system (BOS) electrical design can be done. In short, they are for safety, even though they will almost never operate at their maximum capacities over their lifetimes.

These numbers should not be used to estimate how much energy will be produced, but they are, mostly because there is no alternative.

Last edited 2 months ago by Carlo, Monte
Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 3:50 am

Why are static batterues like SA not lead acid. The only advantage of Li is low weight .ok for cars but not necessary for static

Stephen W
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 5:11 am

Low weight is not the only advantage of lithium

Alasdair gray
Reply to  Stephen W
July 13, 2021 5:36 am

Please elucidate further Steven, specifically for static installation.
I’ve got a 100 ampere hour deep cycle lead/acid battery in my camper Van . Weighs about 10 kilos for 1.2 kwhrs of storage so 50 kw hrs would weigh 500 kilos. How much does a Tesla battery weigh? How much does Hornsdale weigh

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 7:31 am

Lead-acid has many limitations besides just weight, including the depth-of-discharge, rate-of-discharge, and degradation caused by discharging.

KevinM
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 7:58 am

Capacitors convert bulk energy storage to available energy storage.

MarkW
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 1:58 pm

Big capacitors have huge internal leakage. After a day or two, most of your charge will be gone.

A farad capacitor is able to store a coulomb of energy at one volt.
A watt is defined as 1 coulomb per second at one volt.

There is a reason why most capacitors are rated in micro Farads.

Last edited 2 months ago by MarkW
Leo Smith
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 7:37 pm

Now, as a REAL electrical engineer, I know you are not an electrical engineer.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 3:45 pm

And sensitivity to low temperatures, reducing output.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 8:30 am

All the noise about battery “storage” is meaningless anyway, unless you like living in the dark. Their kwh “ratings” probably include more of the usual generous “assumptions” about their operating “environment,” as in “as long as it’s not very cold – or very hot” – i.e., except under the conditions when you’re most likely going to need them (as in, they’ll produce a lot less when needed the most, meaning more “redundancy” and even more preposterous costs).

And what are all these “batteries” going to be made of? Where are the raw materials sourced from? How are they mined, refined, transported, turned into the form required, assembled, transported, and installed? Answers will be fossil fuels, fossil fuels, fossil fuels and more fossil fuels. All to do what could be done more efficiently by using fossil fuels directly as is done today.

And how long will the batteries last? How often will they require replacement at $88 Trillion?!

It’s all a ridiculous exercise in tail-chasing.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  Alasdair gray
July 13, 2021 8:35 am

Because it wouldn’t make a difference.

https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

Mr.
Reply to  Tsk Tsk
July 13, 2021 1:23 pm

The money quote from your linked publication –

Yes, a diverse portfolio of a half-dozen inadequate solutions may be able to add to an adequate solution. But a half-dozen woefully inadequate solutions cannot pull off the same stunt. So far, my quest keeps turning up the woefully inadequate type. The scale of fossil fuel replacement is so daunting that we very quickly get into trouble when putting numbers to proposed solutions.

commieBob
July 13, 2021 4:21 am

So, who is Allison MacFarlaine?

She was the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from July 9, 2012, to December 31, 2014.

So, she’s not some young stupid journalist with no worldly experience. On the other hand, her PhD is in geology. If I had to guess, I would say that her focus was on handling nuclear waste at a time in history when it was expected that the nuclear industry would wind down to nothing.

If you were ideologically possessed and wanted to get rid of the nuclear industry and had access to the levers of power, how would you do it? You would make the regulations so onerous that nobody could ever again afford to build a nuclear power plant. So, in a sense she’s right.

In terms of Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) …

There is a vast range in estimates for nuclear power from 5 to 75 and it is difficult to make sense of these numbers. Nuclear power either sits close to the cliff edge or is a high ERoEI low carbon saviour of humanity.

link

So, when folks talk about the viability of nuclear power, you have to account for their ideology when you assess the facts they present. I think that’s the problem with MacFarlaine. However you can’t ignore the fact that nuclear power has been deployed economically on a large scale, twice, using old technology.

As far as I can tell, Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are the future. If nothing else, they go a long way toward solving the regulatory problems that currently hamstring the industry because, once you have an acceptable design, you crank it out on an assembly line. You don’t have to re-do the regulatory compliance for each and every new reactor.

Analitik
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 6:09 am

Enough red tape will bring the ERoEI to griff’s desired level through wasted resources on needless safety regulations.

Recent NRC chairmen have been appointed to protect the interests of US the gas and oil industry so they have maximised the red tape to minimise investment in nuclear energy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Analitik
griff
Reply to  commieBob
July 13, 2021 4:26 am

Look at the UK: nobody can afford to build a new nuclear plant, despite govt plans showing a desire to build 17GW of new capacity.

Alasdair gray
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:42 am

Tell me Griff in your estimation how many wind turbines we will have in the UK in 2050 given that we will have no Fossil Fuel and no nuclear. I an sure that a smart guy like you has more prescience than Deben, Boris, Kwarteng et al put together

LdB
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 6:23 am

Surely all the displaced Polar Bears can be put to good use in the UK and harnessed and made to turn those wind turbines when the wind isn’t blowing.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:27 am

Should be double that, 34 GW looks about the right base load.

Climate believer
Reply to  commieBob
July 13, 2021 5:28 am

“As far as I can tell, Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are the future. If nothing else, they go a long way toward solving the regulatory problems that currently hamstring the industry because, once you have an acceptable design, you crank it out on an assembly line. ”

I agree, from WNN:

“These reactors are designed for mass production and to reduce construction risk through modularity, simplification of design and a high-level of manufactured content. With shorter construction timeframes and lower construction risk, advanced reactors could quickly achieve cost reductions through technological learning.”

All seems very positive unless of course you are looking for an excuse to destroy capitalism and the western world, then you might want to produce an article telling everyone it’s too late.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Climate believer
July 13, 2021 9:52 am

The ultimate best use of modular would be small community level or even one in your garage

griff
July 13, 2021 4:25 am

Well if you staked things on an EDF reactor, you’d certainly be waiting and waiting…

Their Flammanville and Finnish reactors are now well over ten years overdue finishing construction…

Or you can have a nice quick built Chinese nuke – without the safety features.

Redge
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 4:57 am

Or if the greens truly believed CO2 was an issue, they could stop making reputable constructors go through a gazillion hoops and let them get on with

Rich Davis
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 13, 2021 10:51 am

The French are notorious for cutting safety corners. Look at all the meltdowns they’ve had, and all the deaths! Oh wait…

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 13, 2021 12:32 pm

Even Wiki records only one accidental death in the French nuclear industry. It was in the spent fuel division and may have been something like a fork lift accident. With Chernobyl ‘s 79 deaths, the world still hasn’t reached 100 deaths. In addition to nuke electrical, the casualty statistics include those at experimental reactors since 1950.

A few years ago, China was reporting over 4000 deaths a year in coal mines.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2021 3:49 pm

And dams supplying hydroelectric power don’t have a good safety record either!

niceguy
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 26, 2021 7:03 pm

The Sayano-Shushenskaya accident had a much coverage in France as… I don’t know, nothing had as little coverage.

niceguy
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 26, 2021 7:00 pm

They faked some steel analysis work. Somehow all the steel is still OK. Maybe steel doesn’t need that much love or care.

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:14 am

In the UK, advanced nuclear was included in the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution released in November 2020. Specifically, the UK Government will invest £215 million (~$300 million) into
SMRs through the Low Cost Nuclear programme from 2021 onwards.

Alasdair gray
Reply to  Climate believer
July 13, 2021 5:45 am

If we trace that route we need trillions of investment. 8 Gw of SMR starting in 2030 is a drop in the Ocean so the PM sends us naked into the future

Analitik
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 5:59 am

The EPR is an overly large and overly complex reactor design due to EDF’s desire to sell their new design outside France. The stupidly onerous safety regulations for wider markets entails multiple levels of redundant safety driving up costs and complexity and to compensate, the EDF engineers were forced to scale up the reactor which added even more complexity and difficulty for manufacture.

Most of the issues with the APR1000 deployments are due to the same factors.

The 70’s French and Swedish reactors were perfectly safe, as were the contemporary German and US designs and the following South Korean ones.

Please learn something about nuclear engineering before posting, griff. Same applies for other subjects too.

Last edited 2 months ago by Analitik
Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Analitik
July 13, 2021 7:28 am

Griff never learns, fweelz are more important.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 9:44 am

When government regulators require a re-design every few years, it takes a long time to build anything.

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 10:57 am

Please note that the ChiComs are profitability building them. Why not the West?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 13, 2021 7:43 pm

regulatory ratcheting

Leo Smith
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:42 pm

Wind turbines have killed far more people than nuclear power

David Elstrom
July 13, 2021 4:31 am

We have plenty of time to develop a nuclear power program—12 years, then 12 more years, then 12 more after that—because the climate change scam apocalypse time scale never changes.

fretslider
July 13, 2021 5:40 am

As soon as I noticed this was about the Foreign Affairs publication this came back from deep memory retrieval

The evidence of the last 30-plus years of climate politics suggests that electoral democracy is not well suited to reaching a consensus on what is to be done. If electoral democracy is inadequate to the task of addressing climate change, and the task is the most urgent one humanity faces, then other kinds of politics are urgently needed.”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/20/democracy-is-the-planets-biggest-enemy-climate-change/

It’s a bit like the Convers[at]ion.

Complete bolleaux.

KevinM
Reply to  fretslider
July 13, 2021 8:06 am

Advocates of centralized power (enlightened oligarchy) for solving a “big problem” fail to consider – when does an established central power (oligarchy) decide it is no longer needed and peacefully renounce its power?

Historically it takes a hours, sometimes even days, for established central powers to walk away.

MarkW
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 2:03 pm

If you want to build your own windmill and be free from the centralized power oligarchy, nobody is stopping you.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  fretslider
July 13, 2021 8:41 am

“Dear Earth,

You really must stop these changes to the climate. We are used to how things were, and we simply won’t have it. Nothing should depart from 1956 conditions and we’ll expect your best efforts to return the climate to this state which existed at that time and which we did not find alarming or concerning.

Very truly yours,

Humanity”

There. I’ve “addressed climate change.”

Moving on…

P Wells
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 13, 2021 10:14 am

A recent article, available on-line if you know where to look, talks about how the ice and snow on Greenland have significantly increased over the past 2 or 3 years.

Rich Davis
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 13, 2021 10:56 am

You were polite, but maybe not sufficient for addressing a deity. More along the lines of “Oh benevolent and all-knowing, all-nurturing Mother Gaia” would have been more appropriate.

Reply to  fretslider
July 14, 2021 6:19 am

“If electoral democracy is inadequate to the task of addressing climate change, and the task is the most urgent one humanity faces, then other kinds of politics are urgently needed.”

Indeed, so it’s OK to call ecofascism, ecofascism.
Since its advocates themselves openly admit and affirm that this is exactly what it is.
Given the choice between democracy and the climate agenda – the agenda comes first.
In the Soviet Union, the communist agenda came before democracy.
In the 3rd Reich it was the racial agenda.
When the prevailing political agenda comes before democracy, bad things follow.

Analitik
July 13, 2021 6:03 am

I’m very surprised no mention was made of the relatively short lifespans of renewable generators – about a third (or worse) of that for thermal generators.

Also the South Korean reactor fleet was deployed quickly and economically during the 80s.

Roger Andrews wrote a terrific anaysis on the Euan Mearns site that demonstrated nuclear energy pretty much costs what a society wants it to cost.

Last edited 2 months ago by Analitik
Alan the Brit
July 13, 2021 6:06 am

Faculty of Arts, huh? Says it all!!! When a natural disaster occurs, as they do, I’ll make sure all the rescue crews are Members of the FoA just to make sure they are properly technically equipped to carry out their necessary tasks, including making sure their paint-pallets are properly co-ordinated, brushes properly cleaned before use, etc, etc!!! I bet she’s even expert in solving complex technical issues such as the development of “transverse-thrust” in the epicyclic torque-condenser units in power stations!!! Sarc, yes I know there’s no such thing, just in case Griff & Nick think there is!!! ;-))

James Snook
July 13, 2021 6:31 am

A very good letter in The Times today from two Oxford Profs. My comment follies it.

REACHING NET ZERO
Sir, Matthew Parris (Comment, Jul 10) correctly questions where the power generation on our road to net-zero carbon will come from. At 7am that day the National Grid reported 3.1 per cent of electricity generation was from renewables compared with 51.3 per cent from fossil fuels and 20.8 per cent from nuclear. At 3pm the wind generation component was down to 1 per cent. These data are reminders of our dependence on fossil fuels as the only proven generation technologies at the necessary scale. What would happen if these sources were not available? Even a tenfold increase in solar and wind-generating capacity would fail to cope with the nation’s needs, particularly with the staggering increase in demand required for battery-powered road transport. However, with such an increase in capacity, during periods of excess wind generation, hydrogen can be produced via electrolysis for use in hydrogen boilers, transport and electricity generation using fuel cells. This will be a key mitigation strategy but will not solve the problem of keeping the power on while eliminating fossil fuels.
Professor Peter Edwards and Professor Peter Dobson, University of Oxford; Dr Gari Owen, Annwvyn Solutions

James Snook:
REACHING NET ZERO
The Professors from Oxford are absolutely right. Wind and solar electricity generation will not allow us to achieve net zero. Only a system with a preponderance of nuclear generators would achieve that but it’s now too late to change course to meet the arbitrary 2050 deadline. 

I would question the proposal that we should use occasional excess wind power to produce hydrogen as a sensible plank in the net zero ‘strategy’. It simply creates an unreliable source of hydrogen in addition to an unreliable electricity generating system. 

An advanced economy has to have reliable energy sources but the current plans to reach net zero stand no chance of achieving that.
Reply

Recommend (5)

James Snook
Reply to  James Snook
July 13, 2021 6:33 am

Ouch! My comment should read my comment FOLLOWS it. Damned auto correct.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  James Snook
July 13, 2021 10:32 am

“it’s now too late to change course to meet the arbitrary 2050 deadline.”

James: We have all the time in the world. Since 5billion non- Western folk in Asia and Africa have opted to prioritize the prosperity of their citizens using cheap coal power, CO2 in the atmosphere is only going to continue to go up. We will see CO2 top 600ppm before 2100. THIS is what is worrying the clime syndicate.

The top boffins in the consensus actually know this. They are busy trying to work some policy miracles, geoengineering, to get ahead of the parade. Hadcrut has started lagging behind in reporting which is a tell that they are looking for ways to start cooking data to whittle down a troubling cooling trend.

The end is nigh for the meme, but the planet, a Garden of Eden Earth^TM with nothing alarming in the temperature. Peak Pop and prosperous times for all.

July 13, 2021 6:39 am

Communist governments around the world were very big on 5 and 10 year plans. Very much like climate carbon plans. These plans were often enacted under pain of death.

Not a single 5 or 10 year plan ever succeeded. But as the French Revolution showed, heads did roll.

Matthew Siekierski
July 13, 2021 6:51 am

Does anyone else remember back 20-30 years (or more) ago when talk about needing to get off of coal and oil really got going? Any suggestion of going nuclear was dismissed as something that would take too long to implement. “Do you know how long it takes to get a nuclear plant running? We need something sooner than that!”

Imagine if we had started building those plants all those years ago.

2hotel9
Reply to  Matthew Siekierski
July 13, 2021 7:14 am

Building a nuke plant is not a long process. It is just construction that is thoroughly understood. What makes it long is frivolous lawsuits from leftards. Eliminate those and problem vanishes.

2hotel9
July 13, 2021 7:12 am

If anyone honestly wants CO2 emissions reduced nuclear power is the only solution. Period. Full stop.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  2hotel9
July 13, 2021 7:29 am

And frack for gas in the meanwhile.

2hotel9
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
July 13, 2021 7:40 am

Frac, baby, frac! Here in western PA the evil Marcellus Shale has made lots of local people quite happy, money out of the ground, as it were.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  2hotel9
July 13, 2021 8:46 am

And that will still do nothing about transport unless and until vehicles can draw their power from the roads and railways they travel on, because batteries are a stupid non-solution.

MarkW
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 13, 2021 9:48 am

Trains drawing power from the rails is viable, in cities. It’s hideously expensive for between city runs.
Cars drawing power from roadways will never be viable.

Last edited 2 months ago by MarkW
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2021 3:55 pm

The greater the cars are from the source, the larger the resistive losses, and the more expensive the trip. GPS systems would have to be installed in the cars, and then the owner charged an electricity rate that includes the distance away from the source.

Leo Smith
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
July 13, 2021 7:49 pm

synthetic diesel…made using nuclear power from CO2 and water..Net zero…

Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 7:16 am

The world is almost out of time with respect to decarbonizing the energy sector.

Doomed?
Again?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 13, 2021 8:47 am

We’ve been “out of time” multiple times over the last three decades, nothing has been done to “curtail” emissions, and…pretty much nothing has changed.

What Effing Crisis?!

DrEd
July 13, 2021 7:31 am

” ….the most alarming consequences of climate change, including rising sea levels, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, and the like.”
Absolute nonsense. Don’t you know how to look at actual data? The DATA for the last 40 years demonstrates that your statements – fears promulgated by the alarmists’ failed models – have not happened with the increase of CO2 since the 60s and 70s. Just see if you can look at the data and think.

P Wells
Reply to  DrEd
July 13, 2021 10:25 am

You neglected to mention melting glaciers. Back in 2006 my wife and I cruised up Glacier Bay in Alaska, where we were handed information from charts made by ancient mariners who were documenting the west coast of North America. Their charts and updates shower the melting of that 65 mile long glacier during the 1800’s, prior to the invention of the airplane, the mass-production of the auto, and with population a fraction of what it is today.

Obviously the warming we were causing in the 1800’s was even worse than today.

Bruce Cobb
July 13, 2021 7:39 am

There Is Not Enough Time for Nuclear Innovation to Save the Planet

“Not enough time”, eh? How convenient. Not that there is a problem with climate to begin with but, they hate Nuclear,which is why they’ve dragged their feet on it. We need only one thing: electricity which is relatively cheap, and reliable. That leaves RE out in the cold, leaving us primarily with coal, gas, and nuclear. A mix of all three is good.

Tom Abbott
July 13, 2021 7:41 am

From the article: “To be fair the deployment logistics of building enough nuclear to hit net zero would be insanely expensive – as Willis calculated in US Green Impossibilities, the US would need to complete a brand new 1.2GW nuclear plant every week, between now and 2040 (975 weeks), to replace an estimated 1175GW of generating capacity with zero carbon nuclear. And we’re already 12 weeks behind schedule. At around $10 billion per plant, total cost would be around $10 trillion dollars.
But attempting to replicate this feat with wind or solar is ever more absurd.”

Even more absurd is correct.

Any plan implemented is going to have to be put in place over time, so the time limit set by the author of this article is not a factor. It would take just as long, if not longer to replace our generating capacity with wind and solar as with nuclear.

The U.S. military has been operating small nuclear reactors for many years, and is planning on having newly-designed small nuclear reactors coming online in the next few years, that can power all sorts of things in all sorts of locations. One of these days your town may have its own local nuclear reactor supplying you with electricity.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/energy-and-environment/2021/03/23/portable-nuclear-reactor-project-moves-forward-at-pentagon/

And the Russians have been building transportable nuclear reactors on ships for some time now.

Nuclear is really the only logical next step to take if the aim is to reduce CO2 and not destroy the economy and the landscape in the process. Nuclear will lower CO2 emissons just as fast as any solar/windmill scheme will do.

We should start our new nuclear power project by first stopping the closing of currently operating nuclear reactors.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 13, 2021 11:13 am

2050 is an arbitrary date set by the CliSciFi crazies. It should be ignored.

markl
July 13, 2021 7:44 am

Just streamlining, not curtailing, the regulatory process in the USA for nuclear plants could cut the time to producing electricity in half.

Leo Smith
Reply to  markl
July 13, 2021 7:51 pm

and slash costs by 2/3rds

Tom Abbott
Reply to  markl
July 14, 2021 5:40 am

Trump would be good at streamlining the regulatory process.

He reduced the time for developing vaccinations from five years to one year. He could probably do something similar with nuclear reactor development and construction.

KevinM
July 13, 2021 7:46 am

The claim that nuclear would take decades to roll out is just as true and reasonable as the claim that it was the optimal solution.

This was probably the desired result.

Rational evaluation nuclear power is waiting for the generation in power to die off (the one that formed its world view in the 1970s).

The same old minds still consider oil dictatorship Russia, with its GDP smaller than Canada, as USA’s primary geopolitical rival.

They have cable television, get news from CNN/FOX, physical media in their music library and AOL/hotmail e-mail addresses.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  KevinM
July 13, 2021 8:39 am

If you think the facebook/twitter/instagram generation is any better informed…

Coach Springer
July 13, 2021 7:47 am

Total of $90 trillion? Sounds approximately in line with State of California’s estimates that were discussed on WUWT a little while back. Guessing the price goes up as reality and shortage sets in. Still, enough to build 9,000 $10 billion nukes.- nearly an order of magnitude more than your 975 number.

None of it making a noticeable difference in global temperature. Especially with China, India, Africa and a dysfunctional energy policy in Europe post-Fukushima.

P Wells
Reply to  Coach Springer
July 13, 2021 10:29 am

In view of the fact that the earth is now starting to cool down, it will be interesting to see how the reaction changes.

July 13, 2021 8:05 am

Democracies are too stupid to sustain nuclear power generation technology.
Hard to hear, but true – idiot power Karen mobs will always kill it off in the end.
Only China, Russia, Iran and maybe India will be custodians of nuclear technology into the future. It’s sad because there are a lot of promising nuclear technology developments in the West, but all will be terminated by idiocracy.

Just like this article – they (the Karens including Griff) will endlessly come up with new reasons to stop nuclear: “OK so maybe it is safe … so maybe it is economical … so maybe it is environmentally friendly … but – there’s no time left!

Last edited 2 months ago by Hatter Eggburn
dmanfred
July 13, 2021 8:07 am

Renewables look competitive with nuclear, until one of the back up batteries catches fire.

P Wells
Reply to  dmanfred
July 13, 2021 10:30 am

Tesla has provided a couple of examples already!

Rich Davis
Reply to  dmanfred
July 13, 2021 1:56 pm

Or you realize that the backup isn’t free. Then you understand that it’s about 9 times more expensive

MarkW
Reply to  dmanfred
July 13, 2021 2:06 pm

On what planet are renewables competitive with nuclear?

Dan M
July 13, 2021 9:13 am

Next generation nuclear being developed by Terra Power and several others are smaller, modular nuclear plants that are easier to build and maintain and are safer because if the reactor system loses power, the fuel drop by gravity and the reactor shuts down. They don’t need to be near a water source for coolant. They take up much less land than current nuclear technology and certainly way less land than wind and solar.

That said, we might have much better carbon capture technology that can be added more cheaply to natural gas and coal plants than building thousands of new nuclear plants all over the country.

Of course, the author of the article thinks we need to end fossil fuel use by 2040, which is not only unrealistic, but would be a disaster economically for everyone on the planet.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dan M
July 14, 2021 5:46 am

“Of course, the author of the article thinks we need to end fossil fuel use by 2040, which is not only unrealistic, but would be a disaster economically for everyone on the planet.”

They are dreaming.

I see where Vietnam is having Bectel build them their first, privately-owned, natural gas powerplant. It doesn’t sound like they are going to end fossil fuel use by 2040.

John Hultquist
July 13, 2021 10:08 am

 It is possible to see the advantage of nuclear over wind by looking at the chart here:
https://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

Nuclear is shown as a purple line. The one facility, this week it is matched by 4 dozen or so thermal sources, provides dependable power as shown all day, everyday, for years. Every so often (2 years, I think), with coordination of the hydro facilities, the Columbia Generating Station is refueled and efficiency upgrades (if possible) are done. This servicing of the facility is a modern wonder of planning and actions. It has been on-line since Dec. 1984.

I need to mention that the bounce-up-and-down (green) line is the contribution of wind. [ 7 days ending with 7/13/2021 on the right side ]

NickSJ
July 13, 2021 10:35 am

Meanwhile China is building over a dozen 1,000 megawatt nuclear plants at a time, and putting them online in about 5 years for about $5 billion each. The cost and delay in building nuclear plants is purely a function of regulatory impediments.

griff
Reply to  NickSJ
July 13, 2021 2:23 pm

Or safety requirements.

One senior Chinese nuclear scientist says you’d be mad to accept a Chinese reactor

Leo Smith
Reply to  griff
July 13, 2021 7:53 pm

You do tell some porkies.

NickSJ
Reply to  griff
July 14, 2021 5:27 am

You can find one person to say anything. Point to the Chinese nuclear accidents which have killed any significant number of people.

July 13, 2021 1:33 pm

There are a dozen Molten Salt Reactor projects coming along. Hopefully we’ll finally listen to Alvin Weinberg (ORNL) inventor of the LWR and bring MSRs to fruition instead of canning him like the Nixon Admin (author of for-profit Healthcare and Watergate) did. MSRs are walk away safe, working with the Laws of Physics.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bruce Considine
July 13, 2021 3:31 pm

You know what’s safe, reliable, proven, available today, and cheap?

Natural gas turbines.

Energy made in America that provides a small dividend to our farmers to keep the crops growing (CO2)

Stop the insanity!

Mark Hugo
July 13, 2021 5:27 pm

Foreign Affairs has is a journal for the “Far Left”. They have squealed anti-nuke information for over 40 years. Not worth even burning for heat (too much sludge/garbage involved) I met one of the V.P.s from Commonwealth Edison, 40 years ago. (1980) he had submitted an article to F.A. in counter to garbage from Amory Lovins. HE was quickly turned down. He gave me a copy of his article. Made Amory look like the Greta T. of that era. Ergo does the wolf change it’s garb, or are we to interpret them as a SHEEP? Yes, after all they say, “Nuclear Bahhhhhhdddd Nuclear Badddddd”.

Velcro
July 13, 2021 10:44 pm

Try living in Fairyland, aka New Zealand. Three years ago, our socialistas banned oil and gas exploration. Now our Minister of Energy ( zero scientific training) is bemoaning the lack of gas for electricity generation; and the Huntly power station, which sits adjacent to not one but three very mineable coal fields, is importing over a million tons per year of crappy Indonesian coal, to keep the lights on. Hubris meet Nemesis

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